FALL BRANCH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Fall Branch Elementary student Jessie Allen was just 7 years old when he and his grandmother were killed in a Chuckey home.
While the circumstances surrounding the child’s and 59-year-old Sherry Cole’s deaths remain unclear, the tragic aftermath left behind funeral expenses, which the school hopes to offset with donations. Those who are able to donate should bring cash or a check to the school located at 1061 TN-93 in Fall Branch. Donations can also be mailed to the school. Checks should be made to Fall Branch School or to Bill Cole, whom school leaders identified as Jessie’s grandfather.
A Washington County Schools spokesperson told News Channel 11 that Fall Branch has launched several activities as students grieve the loss of a fellow classmate. Jessie’s peers spent Tuesday writing notes and drawing pictures for Bill Cole.
“There’s mourning, definitely. You know, very deep in grief right now just trying to understand, which is difficult in these kinds of situations,” Superintendent of Washington County TN Schools Jerry Boyd said. “And then trying to pull together as a family to support one another through this and as a school system, we want to provide that wrap-around service and support.”
Fall Branch Principal Dr. Jim Wernke broke the news to students and families, revealing that Frontier Health grief counselors are available at the school to help, and a social worker is also on-site for students, faculty and staff.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has released few details surrounding what the agency deemed a double homicide. The TBI did reveal, however, that a juvenile suspect remains in custody, but it is unclear what charges the minor may face. No one else has been charged.
On Tuesday, District Attorney General Dan Armstrong said the state could file to try the child as an adult.
A spokesperson with the school system on Wednesday morning revealed that a little over $1,900 has been raised so far.